Saturday, December 25, 2010


Over the past year, I have had lots of opportunities to reflect on my life. These reflections came about because death claimed a number of my friends. And, as I watched their departures from this life, I started thinking about how tenuous life is. How we spend so much time worrying about what people will think or trying to please everybody. How we all want to be politically correct, and not step on anyone's toes. How we don't stand for anything so long as it does not stop us from doing what we want to do.

This way of thinking has led to the lose of life, freedom and liberty. We are afraid to say what we think because someone will be offended or they might not like us. We can't live the life that we believe God would want us to live (LOVE THY NEIGHBOR AS THY SELF) because our next door neighbor might not like us. We can't share our beliefs in Christ. "But I say Unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." Matthew 5:43-48

America was founded on religious principles, and yet we are steadily eroding and erasing those principles so that we can be politically correct. For a minority of Americans, we are trying to get rid of "In God We Trust" off of our money. For another small group of Americans, we stopped prayer in our schools (until there is a tragedy, and then we all want everybody to pray). For another small group of Americans it is alright hate Blacks, Jews, Asians, Hispanics, and any other group that we deem not to be worthy of love, respect, and part of the American pie (fabric).

As we give up these small freedoms, and accept sameness as the standard for approval, we give up our freedom. History has shown us that if we give up enough, we will decay from within. Evidence of that decay can already be seen in our children and young adults. They have no values. They have no standards. They have no limits. For them, "anything" goes. It is time to take back our freedom. It is time to stand up for Christ even after we leave church on Sunday. It is time to tell our children to pull up their pants. It is time to tell them that money is the root of all evil, and yes they can have too much of it, if it takes over their lives.

We can show them numerous examples of people with all of the money they will ever need, and what it has done to them, and the quality of their lives. IT did not bring them happiness. IT will not buy them peace of mind. AND, now, they have bodyguards and electronic monitors. They can't mingle with the people that make up this wonderful Country. They can never be alone without wondering who is out to get them.

So my wish for you and yours this year is a return to the REAL MEANING of Christmas. A time to give thanks. A time to remember the birth of Christ. A time to stop whatever you are doing and give praise to Him that loved you so much that He sent His son to a world filled with sin so that each of us might have a right to become Christlike and be with Him when we leave this earth.

The Christmas story is a story of hope, birth, and redemption. It is for you and for me.

The Birth of Jesus Christ

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was like this; for after his mother, Mary, was engaged to Joseph, before they came together, she was found pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Joseph, her husband, being a righteous man, and not willing to make her a public example, intended to put her away secretly. But when he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, don't be afraid to take to yourself Mary, your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She shall bring forth a son. You shall call his name Jesus, for it is he who shall save his people from their sins."
Now all this has happened, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying,

"Behold, the virgin shall be with child,and shall bring forth a son.
They shall call his name Immanuel;" which is, being interpreted, "God with us." Joseph arose from his sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took his wife to himself; and didn't know her sexually until she had brought forth her firstborn son. He named him Jesus.

Matthew 1:18-25


Friday, December 03, 2010



Gospel Event
Saturday, December 4th
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Location: National Church of God, 6700 Bock Road, Ft. Washington, MD 20744
Cost: Free (tickets required) – for tickets, please contact Rice Consulting at or 1-866-838-0037
Attendance is limited to 1,500 guests; 10 reservations per inquiry, please
Prince George’s County’s best gospel vocalists and musicians celebrate the 2010 inauguration of Prince George’s County Executive-Elect Rushern L. Baker, III. Gospel Event is being produced by The Perfect Plan of Greater Washington

Literacy Event
Reading to Greatness!
Sunday, December 5th
3:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Location: Greenbelt Middle School, 8950 Edmonston Road, Greenbelt, MD 20770
Cost: Free (book donations appreciated)

Interfaith Service
Monday, December 6th
7:30 a.m.
Location: Cheverly United Methodist Church, 2801 Cheverly Avenue,
Cheverly, MD 20785
Cost: Free (tickets required) – for tickets, please contact Rice Consulting at or 1-866-838-0037

Space is limited, so please call early for tickets; 2 reservations per inquiry

Swearing-in Ceremony
Monday, December 6th
10:30 a.m.
Location: The Prince George’s County Administration Building Promenade,
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
Cost: Free – no RSVP required

General seating is available on a first come, first serve basis

Inaugural Ball
Monday, December 6th
Cocktail Reception @ 6:00 p.m.
Dinner @ 8:00 p.m.
Location: Gaylord National Harbor, 201 Waterfront Street,
National Harbor, MD 20745
*Cost: $100/ticket – General Admittance – SOLD OUT
For tickets or more information, please contact Rice Consulting at or 1-866-838-0037
Attire: Black tie

Bern Nadette Stanis, Co-host of Inaugural Ball Ceremony
Special performance by Grammy Award Winning Songstress, Regina Belle
XPD’s Band and Show will perform as well.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

City of Mount Rainier's Holiday Soiree -- Celebrating 100 YEARS


DATE: Saturday, December 4

TIME: 6:00pm - 11:00pm

LOCATION: Joe's Movement Emporium

COST: $20

More Info: The City of Mount Rainier is ending its 100th Year Celebration with a Holiday Soiree at Joe's Movement Emporium. Ticket are ONLY $20. YOU can PAY at the door, but we prefer that you get your tickets in advance (email me at with the number of tickets being requested, and I will get back with you re how to pay for them and get them delivered in time for the SOIREE).

HOME TOWN folks (present, past, future and of course visitors especially elected officials and State of Maryland representatives), PLEASE come out and support this effort. The food, the music and the comraderie will surpass your expectations for a small town.

Dress is semi-formal or after five wear. Come out and BRING A FRIEND. Let them know that you were invited by the Mayor of Mount Rainier! I plan to be there to greet you at the door. 100 years of anything is a reason to celebrate, SO COME OUT and CELEBRATE with the former and current residents of MOUNT RAINIER, MARYLAND! THANK YOU in advance for your SUPPORT of this event.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Going to be out of town on ELECTION DAY?
You should get, complete and return your Absentee Ballot Application to the Prince George's County Board of Elections in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. That address is Prince George's County Board of Elections
16201 Trade Zone Avenue, Suite 108, Upper Marlboro, MD 20721

A completed Absentee Ballot Application that is mailed must be received by 4:30 p.m. on the Tuesday before the election.

A completed Absentee Ballot Application that is faxed must be received by 11:59 p.m. on the Tuesday before the election. After the deadline, a Late Application for Absentee Ballot must be completed in person at your County Board of Elections.

How do I Return the Absentee Ballot and What is the Deadline?
The ballot should be voted and returned to the Prince George's County Board of Elections before or by 8:00 p.m. on election day or Mailed on or before election day, bearing a postmark verifying that fact, and received from the postal service or private mail carrier by 10:00 a.m. on November 14, 2008.

Source of information:
State Board of Elections
Post Office Box 6486
151 West Street, Suite 200
Annapolis, Maryland 21401-0486
Phone: 410-269-2840
Toll Free: 800-222-8683
Fax: 410-974-2019 ,410-974-5414,or 410-974-5126

Absentee Ballot Information from the Prince George's County Website

The deadline to request an absentee ballot for the General Election is as follows:

If the application is mailed, 4:30 p.m. on October 26, 2010; or
If the application is faxed, 11:59 p.m. on October 26, 2010.

After the deadline, a Late Absentee Ballot Application must be completed in person at the Board of Elections - 16201 Trade Zone Avenue, Suite 108, Upper Marlboro, MD 20774 by October 27, 2010 (General Election) @ 8:00 p.m. For more information, please contact our office at 301-430-8020 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. daily.

How do I fill out my Absentee Ballot Application

Examine your ballot before voting. If both sides are printed, vote both sides. If there are four columns on a side, vote all four columns.

To record a vote, completely fill in the oval to the left of your choice.
WARNING: Use only a No. 2 pencil. Other marking instruments may not produce a mark that will be accurately counted.

Do not vote for more candidates than the number specified over the names of the candidates for each office. (You may vote for fewer than specified if you wish.)

Write-in voting is permitted only in general elections. General Election ballots provide a designated space in each contest for casting a write-in vote. To cast a write-in vote, you must (a) record the last name and first name, or at least the last name and the initial of the first name, of the person for whom you wish to vote on the appropriate line, and (b) completely fill in the oval to the left of the name you have written.
Do not place any mark of identification on the ballot.

Go to to download and complete your absentee ballot!

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Family Crisis Center Participates in MACY'S Give Back DAY and Sponsors the Play "According to US" -- OCTOBER 16 2010

OCTOBER 16, 2010 is almost here. This is a reminder that the FAMILY CRISIS CENTER needs your support and looks forward to your attendance at the reception and play (According to Us). The reception begins at 6:00pm and the curtains call is at 7:00pm. Please pass this email on to your email list and plan to attend. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door.

On that same day, shop-a-holics can save 20% at Macy's, IF they purchase a $5 coupon NOW from the Family Crisis Center. All purchases are tax deductible and goes to support the work of the Family Crisis Center. (NEED a LITTLE RED CARD to get this big discount -- Call 301-779-2100 or just come by 3601 Taylor Street and pick up one for you and one for a FRIEND!)

Domestic Violence is REAL, and the women and children supported by your donations, contributions, and participation are ALWAYS appreciative.

LOOKING forward to seeing you at one of our LOCAL MACY's shopping with your little red card on October 16, and at our reception and play October 16 at 6:00pm.

Friday, October 08, 2010


Vote Oct. 22 – 28 except for Sundays

State Board of Elections --1-800-222-8683 For the general election, early voting centers will be open starting Friday, October 22, 2010 through Thursday, October 28, 2010, except for Sunday, October 24th when early voting centers are closed. Early voting centers will be open from 10 am until 8 pm each day of early voting. Anyone in line at 8 pm will be allowed to vote.

How will I vote during early voting?

Voting during early voting is the same as voting on election day. When you get to the early voting center, you will check in to vote and vote your ballot.

Like election day voting, you will vote on the touch screen voting system. With a touch screen voting system, you touch the screen to make, change, and review selections and cast a ballot.

There will be instructions available at the early voting centers to familiarize you with the ballot. You may ask an election judge to explain how to vote, but you must cast your vote alone, unless you are unable to do so because you have a disability or are unable to read or write the English language.

Upper Marlboro Community Center
5400 Marlboro Race Track Rd
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772

College Park Community Center
5051 Pierce Avenue
College Park, MD 20742

Bowie Library
15210 Annapolis Road
Bowie, MD 20715

Wayne K. Curry Sports & Learning Center
Landover Room A
8001 Sheriff Road
Landover, MD 20785

Oxon Hill Library
6200 Oxon Hill Road
Oxon Hill, MD 20745

Sunday, October 03, 2010

William (Bill) Updike Appointed to City Council

Bill Updike will be sworn in on Tuesday to the Mount Rainier City Council. Councilman-elect Bill Updike has been an active member of the City since moving here six years ago.

Bill wants to use his community development experience to help market the city as a vibrant place to build and live. He says that his priorities will be focused on development and environmental issues.

Updike was selected by the Mayor and council at the special public meeting held on Tuesday, September 28. Two other candidates were interviewed for the position, Cheryl Fountain and Amy Callner. Both of these candidates were well qualified for the position, unfortunately there was only one seat available.

To keep the Citymoving forward, Bill Updike will be sworn in at the first public meeting of the Mayor and Council on Tuesday, October 5. Bill will remain on the council the remaining eight months of the late Councilmember Alta Morton's term. Mount Rainier will hold its regularly scheduled election the first Monday in May. At that time, three positions will be up for election. Two seats will be up for election in Ward 1, Councilmember-elect Bill Updike because the late Councilmember Morton had two years left on her term, and Councilmember Jimmy Tarlau whose four-year term expires. There will also be one seat up for election in Ward 2. Councilmember Bryan Knedler is currently filling that seat.

Friday, October 01, 2010

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

From the Desk of the Mayor


September 26, 2010

Mount Rainier Nature Center HAS CHANGED!

Have you visited the Mount Rainier Nature/Recreation Center (the Nature Center) recently? If not, you have missed a big change that has occurred there.. For one Kevin is no longer there. Miss Tonya Banks, Katrina Williams and Ashley (get last name) are the new staff at the Nature Center. They have come with new ideas and programs.

On Saturday night they had movie night for the kids and the Nature Center was open until 9:00pm. Approximately 47 people (mostly children and teens) came out and enjoyed the evening. Two or three of the adults were overjoyed to be able to sit out under the stars and take in a really good movie.

But that is not all that has changed at the Nature Center. There is a push and a MOVEMENT to make it a real recreation center for teens. Here are some of the things that are new at the Nature Center.

1. Xtreme teens program -- the Xtreme Teen Open House is Oct 8th, 2010. The fun begins at 7pm.

2. After school programs where teens can get their service hours, do homework, and have fun with other teens.
3. Partnership with the Community Center at Queens Manor so that when the children age out of programs there, they can automatically become members of the Nature Center and continue in various recreational programs.
4. MNCPPC admissions cards are now available at the Nature Center. this card is good for all MNCPPC programs throughout the County.
5. Ms. Tonya Banks really want to hear from the residents of Mount Rainier about programs and activities that you wish to see at the Nature Center.

For more information, contact the Mount Rainier Nature/Recreation Center at 4701 31st Pl Mt Rainier, MD 20712 - (301) 927-2163. I believe you will be glad you did.

Suite Magazine

Just received a copy of the Suite Magazine. If you have not picked up one, stop by City Hall and get a copy. Mount Rainier is featured in the magazine in the Magazine's feature article "Our Town." Also featured in the magazine is Brentwood and North Brentwood. There is a full list of the Mount Rainier business community as well as other useful information about the City. This is another must see. Pick up your copy today.

Vacancy created by the late Councilmember Alta Morton

The death of former Councilmember Alta Morton was a sad day for many of us. It ended a budding career that had potential for greatness, and it ended and era of her leadership on the development of our down town area. Mayor and Council now has the task of getting on board a new councilmember that is willing to continue working toward the vision that will revitalize Mount Rainier.

In accordance with our Charter, Mr. Jimmy Tarlau, Councilmember for Ward 1 has put forth three names for the position, Cheryl Fountain, Bill Updike, and Amy Callner. These persons will come before the Council for consideration on Tuesday, September 28. The Council will interview the candidates and make a decision about the candidate to fill the vacancy. If no decision is reached, the Charter requires a special election be held. At that time the vacancy would be open to all residents in Ward 1.

It is my hope that the Council will be able to come to agreement on one of the three names that have been proffered for consideration, and that the selected person will be sworn in as soon as possible to complete the remaining months of Alta's term.

Speed Cameras

There has been a lot of talk about speed cameras, but few of those talking about the speed cameras have addressed the need or the reason those cameras exist.

Here's my take on the speed cameras. I hate them. They are annoying, and they actually take pictures of the car, the tag, and the speed that the car is travelling. What would be better would be for the cameras to take pictures of the drivers.

We actually race around our streets at speeds that are definitely above our posted speed limits. We run stop signs or do a "rolling stop." We zip through our own City with little regard for our children, and think nothing about it until that envelope arrives in the mail. With today's cars and trucks it is easy to go above the speed limit without knowing it, and those speed cameras remind us. I know because I have had two reminders, and I could not believe it. Those two reminders made me pay more close attention to my speed when I am behind the wheel. I hope those little reminders did the same for you.

Now, on to the larger picture about speed cameras. There are concerns about speed cameras in every municipality. The law requires that those speed cameras be monitored; read by a trained police officer; and verified. This is a daily and sometimes twice a day operation. Any suspicious looking pictures are dumped.

The cameras are here. AND, they are more than a revenue source. We have had teachers hit by cars while doing their jobs to make our children safe. We have had a few of our children hit by drivers (these are residents dropping their children off at our schools). We have police officers on watch at our schools because of the way we drive around our schools and in the school zones.

Are our speed camera legal? Yes, they are!

The State of Maryland approved the use of speed cameras for municipalities. The Mayor and Council voted to use speed Camera in and around our schools. This was no easy decision, however, the decision was made and an announcement issued in The Message (Verbatim from The Message December 9, 2010).

Speed Cameras

Maryland law (Transportation Article, § 21-809) allows municipalities to enact speed monitoring system enforcement programs commonly referred to as “speed cameras.” Speeding is a major cause of accidents, deaths, and injuries. Studies show that speed cameras significantly reduce the number of speeding violations and crashes. Traditional speed enforcement forces police officers to follow and stop a violator in order to cite the violator, but traffic volume and safety considerations mean that police officers can only apprehend a fraction of the violators, thereby putting motorists and pedestrians at risk. Speed cameras provide safe and consistent enforcement at a reasonable cost, while allowing police officers to focus on other enforcement efforts. The City of Mount Rainier believes that use of speed cameras in school zones within the City will help prevent speeding, protect our children as they come and go from school, and benefit the public’s health, safety, and welfare.

The following school zone areas have been designated by the City for speed camera enforcement effective December 1, 2009:
Mount Rainier Elementary School
Thomas Stone Elementary School
Christian Family Montessori School

On or after December 2nd, 2009 a speed camera will be put in place in front of Thomas Stone Elementary School in the 4500 block of 34th Street. This camera will assist the police department in enforcing the 25 mph speed limit eastbound on 34th Street between Arundel Road and Varnum Street. The camera will be operational from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. Until January 4th, 2010 violations recorded by this camera will result in the violator receiving a warning notice. Effective January 4th, 2010 violations recorded by this camera will result in the violator receiving a notice of violation.

On or after January 4th, 2010 a speed camera will be put in place in front of the Christian Family Montessori School (St. James Church) located 3628 Rhode Island Avenue. This camera will assist the police department in enforcing the 25 mph speed limit southbound on Rhode Island Avenue between 38th Street and 34th Street. The camera will be operational from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. Effective January 4th, 2010 violations recorded by this camera will result in the violator receiving a notice of violation.

On or after January 4th, 2010 a speed camera will be put in place in the 3000 block of Queens Chapel Road. This camera will assist the police department in enforcing the 35 mph speed limit northbound on Queens Chapel Road between 25th Street and Buchanan Street. The camera will be in operation from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. Effective January 4th, 2010 violations recorded by this camera will result in the violator receiving a notice of violation.

So, yes our cameras are legal, and based on the number of tickets issued, THEY are needed. (Quote from Chief Scott, "Can you believe there was one person caught by the camera doing 80 miles an hour on Arundel Road!")

New Anacostia Trails Heritage Area (ATHA) Banners Coming to Town
Remember those banners hung around town a few months back, and how quickly they went to seed! Well, they are all going to be replaced over the next few months and Sundays at no cost to the City. The quality of the current banners were of very poor quality and many of them are down because of that.

So, ATHA has sent out an RFP to see what it would cost for new banners. Berry and Homer, who does banners for MNCPPC, responded and can replace all of the banners for about $19,500. They will also replace the harnesses that are down (about 12 of them in the heritage area). It is anticipated that these will be of much better quality and will be mounted better also and will last much longer. Also, a few extra will be made so that if some come down, the municipalities will only have to contact ATHA, and Berry and Homer will put a new one up at minimal charge -- about $100. NOTE: ATHA will not be replacing the medallions.

What's Going on Around town?
Lots of great things are happening in Mount Rainier. New street curbing is going in on a number of streets.

New grants are being submitted for programs and services including a new grant to the Chesapeake Trust Foundation for work on Buchannan Street.

Revision of the Mixed Use Town Center Plan is coming to closure and had its first hearing before the Prince George's County Planning Board. Because of concerns raised by the City no action was taken and the plan was sent back for further work. Mayor and Council will be meeting with representatives from Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission on the plan on September 29, 2010 at 7:00pm at City Hall residents are invited to come out to hear the discussion. To view the document click on or copy and paste the following link: .

Thanks to the continued work of Jimmy Tarlau and the Centennial Committee, Mount Rainier House Tour will take place on October 17 starting at 12:00pm and ending around 5:00pm. The Tour is being conducted as part of the City's Centennial Celebration. Interested in going on the Tour? Contact City Hall to sign up. I think you will enjoy the Tour and learn more about what is going on with homes and building s in Mount Rainier.

How about that Mount Rainier Farmers Market! Thanks to the work of Councilmember Ivy Morton and the late Councilmember Alta Morton, the City has had a wonderful experience with the farmers and Vicki Rees re-establishing the farmers market. Although not the number of vendors/farmers expected, the farmers market has had lots of visitors, and has become a place where residents meet. The Farmers Market will continue on Saturdays until early November. If you haven't been there, time is running out.

The Mount Rainier Holiday Soiree has been agreed upon! It will be held on Saturday, December 4, 2010 at Joe's Movement Emporium. There will be a cost for this event, but it is expected to be the major climax for our Centennial celebration. We hope that residents will come out and support this event. Lots of guests will be invited to join us for this auspicious occasion as we begin the road to our next 100 years!

Remember "drive in movies? Well, we have walk up movie. This project was started by Councilmember Ivy Thompson, and has gained in popularity. Movie and popcorn are free. The movies are shown outdoors at 33rd & Perry Streets on the 2nd and 4th Fridays of the month and will continue through October 8. Bring the family and a blanket or lawn chair and spend an evening in the neighborhood enjoying a movie and popcorn. Movies start at 7:00pm.

Police decides after years of complaints to crack down on solicitors of prostitution! What a novel idea. Arrest those persons making prostitution an eyesore in our City. After a news article that Councilmember Knedler saw in the papers regarding a crack down on prostitution in Laurel, our Chief of Police, Michael Scott employed similar techniques on Rhode Island Avenue. The results were amazing. It's same story about who is really speeding on our streets -- Us. It is also "us" contributing to the prostitution on Rhode Island and other parts of our town. Thank you Chief and Councilmember Knedler. Let's stay on top of this on. It's good to arrest the prostitute, but it is even better to arrest the solicitor. Dry up the need, and the rest will take care of itself.

Primary election September 14, 2010! WOW! What a day. Even though we experienced a low turn, many of the candidates that support Mount Rainier were elected to run in the General Election. If you did not come out to vote in the Primary, I encourage you to participate in the General. Remember, politician count votes when they make decisions about appropriations. They also respond quicker when they KNOW they have an active citizenry. If we (DEMOCRATS) are to win in November, Democrats MUST come out in full blast to vote in the November General Election. If you are not registered to vote, voter registration reopens, September 27 and closes October 12, 2010 for the General Election. You can register today by clicking on or copying and pasting this link:

Did you miss "A Company of Strangers" production at Joe's Movement Emporium? Well it has booked a one day showing at the Family Crisis Center, 3601, Taylor Street, Brentwood Maryland, October 16, 2010. The play "According to Us" will begin at 7:00pm following the reception at 6:00pm. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. All funds raised will be donated to the Family Crisis Center.

Macy's one day sale to benefit nonprofits. October 16 has been designated as nonprofit day at Macy's, and the Family Crisis Center is participating by selling $5 coupons that are good for 20% off all purchases on October 16 ONLY. Tickets can be purchased at the Family Crisis Center or you can call 301-779-2100 x1116 and speak to Sarah Jones.

Congresswoman Edwards invites students to apply to admission to one of our nation’s military academies: the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland; the U.S Military Academy, at West Point, New York; the U.S. Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, Colorado; or the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York. The rewards for individuals who qualify include tuition, career training, and service to our country. Please click here for information on the application process. Applications are due Friday, October 15, 2010.

Congresswoman Edwards will hold her 2nd annual college fair and symposium from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 16, 2010 at Northwestern High School located at 7000 Adelphi Road in Hyattsville. "Planning for Future Success: Helping Students and Families Understand and Navigate the College Application Process" is designed to help students and parents learn about financial aid resources and post-secondary education and training opportunities. The event will also feature representatives from colleges and universities, testing centers, and career training institutions, as well as lessons on writing essays, resumes, and completing applications. For more information, or call 301-516-7601 or click/copy or paste this link:

ATHA Welcomes new executive director. Aaron Marcavitch has been selected to take on the task of replacing Karen Crooms at ATHA, Inc. He started Monday, September 27, 2010. His email address is With Aaron coming on board, Odette Ramos will be leaving ATHA after transitioning everything over to Aaron. There is a possibility that she will continue working on the celebration for the War of 1812 Battle of Bladensburg Commemoration, but that has not been confirmed. Call or go by and welcome Aaron to our area. ATHA, 4310 Gallatin St, Hyattsville, MD 20781-2050, (301) 887-0777.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

From the Educationdoctor

A deadly mistake in Prince Georges

Thursday, August 19, 2010; A16

A YOUNG WOMAN was murdered last week, an apparent victim of domestic violence and an unforgivable bureaucratic error.

Prince George's County police say that LaCole Hines, 17, was shot in the head Aug. 9 by Marcus D. Shipman, her 23-year-old boyfriend. Ms. Hines was in a Landover liquor store when Mr. Shipman allegedly walked in, shot her and sped away in a waiting car driven by a 16-year-old accomplice. Mr. Shipman and the teenager were arrested after they crashed the car. Ms. Hines died at an area hospital late last week.

What makes this heinous act all the more tragic is that it might have been prevented. Two weeks before the shooting, police issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Shipman after he threatened Ms. Hines with a gun -- a felony, first-degree assault. But he was never arrested because the Prince George's Sheriff's Office, which has primary responsibility for serving most of the warrants issued in the county, misfiled the document, the sheriff's office said. Instead of being handled on a priority basis, it was stashed away among misdemeanor warrants.

The employee responsible for the alleged mistake faces disciplinary action, the sheriff's office said, and the office has instituted a process by which the classification of warrants will be doubled-checked -- something that was apparently not being done before the Shipman mistake. "My heart goes out to the 17-year-old girl," Sheriff Michael A. Jackson said in a statement. Mr. Jackson, a Democrat who is running for county executive, labeled the incident "a very serious lapse in my agency." (Readers should know that The Post has endorsed one of Mr. Jackson's opponents, Rushern L. Baker III, in the Sept. 14 primary election for county executive.)

Mr. Jackson said that this lapse was an "isolated incident." But how can he know that this was an aberration? For years, the sheriff's office has had severe problems carrying out its duty to serve warrants in a timely fashion. In 2002, when Mr. Jackson was first elected, the office had a backlog of 30,000 unserved warrants. This was a major campaign issue for Mr. Jackson, who used it as an argument for unseating the incumbent sheriff.

Yet now he won't or can't provide even a ballpark figure of outstanding warrants. His spokesman asserts that the office "has no backlog," but that is only because the office now refuses to use that term; the backlog has become a "structural inventory." Rafael Hylton, a member of the sheriff's office who is running to replace Mr. Jackson, puts the backlog at 48,000 warrants. Mr. Hylton told the Gazette newspaper that shrinking the backlog will be a priority if he is elected.

Backlogs and errors are almost inevitable when dealing with the thousands of warrants that sheriffs' offices are asked to serve each year. But Mr. Jackson's apparent failure to control the problem and his unwillingness now even to acknowledge it all but guarantee mistakes. In the case of LaCole Hines, the carelessness proved fatal.

Fresh makeup for the County Council

Gazette Newspaper – August 19, 2010

Prince George's County Council members are limited to two four-year terms, and with five of the nine current members prevented from seeking re-election, the county's leadership will be significantly different after the Sept. 14 primary election. The 37 candidates for the nonpartisan seats will face a mountain of challenges: a tight budget, high crime and struggling schools, to name a few — all for the annual salary of $96,417.

The following council candidates possess the best strategies, leadership experience, dedication to an open, transparent government, and commitment to improving the community:

- District 1: Constituent area includes Adelphi, Beltsville, Calverton, College Park, Laurel, Montpelier, South Laurel, West Laurel and Vansville.

With eight years and four two-year terms as a Laurel city councilman, Frederick Smalls brings experience handling economic development, zoning issues and public safety and is the best candidate to succeed term-limited County Councilman Thomas E. Dernoga.

Smalls, the director of administration, finance and human resources for the Maryland secretary of state's office, brings experience as a Laurel Regional Hospital board member and former PTA president. Smalls has successfully worked on leading environmental efforts in the city and hopes to continue his work on the county level.

The one hit to Smalls' record is the city's lack of progress on the ailing Laurel Mall, which has struggled to attract popular retailers and is in need of revitalization; however, Smalls has learned from the pitfalls of revitalization efforts and has strong plans for dealing with developers on future projects.

Smalls' strongest competition comes from Mary Lehman, who has worked as an aide to delegate Joseline Pena-Melnyk (D-Dist. 21) of College Park and Dernoga, and as the president of the West Laurel Civic Association, but Lehman doesn't have as clear a strategy to accomplish her goals.

Candidates Sam Epps, Valerie Cunningham and Crystal Thompson would have too steep a learning curve to be as effective in their first term.

- District 2: Constituent area includes Adelphi, Avondale, Brentwood, Chillum, Green Meadows, Hyattsville, Langley Park, Lewisdale, Mount Rainier and North Brentwood.

Incumbent Will Campos remains the best choice to represent his constituents. In his first term, Campos spearheaded efforts to find a site for a new Hyattsville elementary school to alleviate overcrowding in schools in the region. Campos worked with state leaders to provide tax credits for the university town center project in Hyattsville and support for the U.S. Route 1 corridor to spur construction and attract retailers.

For his next term, Campos wants to include Mount Rainier in revitalization efforts by making infrastructure improvements, turning the area into a vibrant downtown space and completing work on the western portion of EYA (Eakin, Youngentob and Associates) Arts District Hyattsville, a $200 million residential and commercial project along Route 1.

Campos combines creative ideas — such as establishing a trolley system through the district to add character and identity in the area — with logical plans, such as reviewing county contracts to eliminate unnecessary spending.

Challengers Dottie McNeill and Sabrena Turner need more experience on a municipal level.

- District 3: Constituent area includes Beacon Heights, Berwyn Heights, College Park, East Pines, Glenridge, Landover Hills, Lanham, New Carrollton, Riverdale Park, Seabrook, Templeton Knolls, University Park, West Lanham Hills and Woodlawn.

County Councilman Eric C. Olson deserves re-election to the post through the solid performance during his first term, which includes a successful push to prevent council members from receiving raises unless county employees get one as well; formation of "walking town meetings," where he walks through neighborhoods with residents to hear their concerns (he says he has walked every community in his district); startup of the countywide Youth and Gang Violence Prevention Task Force; and championing legislation to help stop pawn shops from enabling petty crimes.

His opponent, retired business owner Al Whiting, is a political newcomer who says he opposes the Purple Line, a much-needed mass transit project for this district.

- District 4: Constituent area includes Bowie, Glenn Dale, Greenbelt, Lanham-Seabrook, Upper Marlboro and Westchester Park.

Democratic incumbent Ingrid Turner and Republican challenger Fiona Moodie are both unopposed in their primaries.

- District 5: Constituent area includes Bowie, Blandensburg, Cheverly, Colmar Manor, Cottage City, Edmonston, Fairmount Heights, Glenarden, Landover, Lanham, Mitchellville and Springdale.

Incumbent Andrea Harrison won a special election for the seat of her former boss, David C. Harrington, who was appointed to a state Senate. Harrison was his deputy chief of staff and policy director, but has little to show for her two years on the council.

Challenger Pat Thornton offers much more leadership and, of the three candidates for this district, offers the most promise.

Thornton has worked as marketing director at the Prince George's County Economic Development Corp., which works to attract and support businesses, for the past six years and has strong plans for bring jobs and federal dollars to the county. While at the EDC, she has worked with the top 100 employers in the county and understands their needs — and how to attract more businesses.

Thornton expresses frustration over the county's missed grant opportunities and pledges to have a staff member better monitor available funding.

Harrison points to the county's triple-A bond rating and managing the budget during tough economic times as her main accomplishments. Challenger Nakia T. Ngwala shows a lot of promise but lacks experience and her plans, such as bringing federal agencies to the Metro stations in Prince George's County, lack specifics.

- District 6: Constituent area includes South Bowie, Capitol Heights, District Heights, Forestville, Kettering, Largo, Mitchellville and Upper Marlboro.

Derrick Leon Davis, chairman of the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund and a parent coordinator for Prince George's County Public Schools, identifies a clear strategy for environmental jobs growth, a transportation corridor, community revitalization and transit-oriented development around Metro stations.

Davis, who lives in Suitland, has the leadership and community experience several of his challengers lack — he was elected to the county's Democratic Central Committee and has served as a constituent services aide on the County Council. He also has a thorough understanding of the issues and will likely be a consensus-builder on the council.

Mark Polk, a Bowie attorney and former county police captain, is a strong contender but — along with Venus Bethea, a Prince George's County District Court commissioner, and Leslie Johnson, wife of the current county executive — lacks leadership experience. Polk offers an interesting data-driven approach for measuring leadership performance; however, his resolute stances may make him a polarizing force on the council.

Arthur Turner, chairman of the Prince George's County Democratic Central Committee, has helped promote economic development, but his embarrassing disputes with union leaders raise concerns about his ability to handle county conflicts.

- District 7: Constituent area includes Bradbury Heights, Capitol Heights, Coral Hills, Hillcrest Heights, Seat Pleasant and Suitland.

Darrell Miller, former mayor of Capitol Heights, is the strongest contender in a race with no standout candidates.

Miller served four years overseeing the roughly $2.5 million budget of Capitol Heights. He took a grant-focused approach while at the helm — which he says bore fruit after he failed to win re-election this year. He plans to continue that approach on the county level to jumpstart economic development, pay for road improvements and build more recreational centers, but is unable to provide a solid long-term solution void of the grants.

Still, Miller has the combination of leadership experience, an outlined strategy for district and county improvements and focus that other candidates lack.

Challenger Eugene Grant, mayor of Seat Pleasant, outlines some specific plans for economic development in District 7 but his strategy is too reliant on partnerships and community engagement, which can be unreliable. Candidate Natasha Shamone-Gilmore's strengths are her community and leadership experience, but she offers few details.

- District 8: Constituent area includes Camp Springs, Clinton, Forest Heights, Fort Washington, Glass Manor, Marlow Heights, Oxon Hill and Temple Hills.

In a race with several competent, accomplished candidates who would do well on the job, Jerry Mathis, a Fort Washington real estate agent and community leader, gets the nod. Mathis provides solid, well thought-out plans to redefine the county's economy and schools, and he has the business and community advocacy experience to support his vision. He has long been at the forefront of county issues, successfully fighting for historic preservation and local business.

Among the race's other top contenders is Archie O'Neil, a former county police commander who has strong plans for capitalizing off National Harbor's success and wants to improve Metro access.

- District 9: Constituent area includes Accokeek, Aquasco, Baden, Brandywine, Camp Springs, Cheltenham, Clinton, Croom, Eagle Harbor, Fort Washington, Joint Base Andrews, Piscataway and Upper Marlboro.

Attorneys Mel Franklin and Tamara Davis Brown, two top-notch professionals and community leaders, would both thrive excel in replacing outgoing Councilwoman Marilynn M. Bland.

Our nod narrowly goes to Franklin, a Marlton resident and Maryland assistant attorney general, who has hit the ground running with improvement strategies that address all facets of the economically and demographically diverse district. Franklin has smart plans for fostering growth and development in the district's developing tier and around Metro stations, attracting business with incentives while ensuring the necessary infrastructure will support growth, and preserving the rural tier with stricter zoning protections.

Brown of Clinton also is a talented leader and a proven advocate for residents, with solid plans for sustainable economic development, preservation of the rural tier and transit-oriented development.

However, Franklin, who is a member of the board of trustees for Prince George's Community College, the board of the Indian Head Highway Area Action Council and the county's Prince George's County Democratic Central Committee, has the leadership experience to be a powerhouse on the council.

Zalee Harris a.k.a. Maryland's Education Doctor
Read and research more - this is not a game!

Thursday, July 08, 2010


July 8, 2010
Mount Rainier
One Municipal Place
Mount Rainier, MD 20712

Contact: Jeannelle Wallace


Phone: 301-985-6585

Mount Rainier, Maryland -- Councilmember Alta Morton, Council Representative for Ward One died this morning, (Thursday, July 8, 2010) at Holy Cross Hospital after years of struggling with sickle cell anemia. She was 50 at the time of her death. Ms. Morton had been serving as a Ward One representative since being elected in May 2005 and re-elected in May 2009. Her death is a devastating loss, not just to the City of Mount Rainier, but to our community and Prince George's County.

During her 50 years, Ms. Morton achieved many milestones, one of which was her election to the Mount Rainier City Council. Ms. Morton was the Policy Director to Prince George’s County Councilwoman Andrea Harrison and Liaison to District 5 municipalities, where she worked on land use, planning and development.

Ms. Morton had over 20 years combined experience in community and economic development. Her strength and experience was in the housing industry, and included mortgage lending, and counseling consumers, project management, as well as drafting architectural plans and providing other visual materials. She worked with Community Development Block Grants; HOME; housing trust fund and bond programs; and various task forces and committees; as well as non-profit boards including Gateway Community Development Corporation (CDC) and the Anacostia Trails Heritage Area (ATHA).

Ms. Morton had one daughter, Alexandra, who lived with her and is attending American University. Prior to her death Ms. Morton resided in Mount Rainier with her partner, Mario Sanchez, and their four boxer dogs. In addition to Alexandra and Mario, she leaves to mourn her passing, her parents and a host of friends and relatives.

The family is making arrangements and those will be announced once finalized.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010


There are so many ways to communicate and to stay in touch today that we are often overloaded.

There is snail-mail, email, telephones, social networks, and on and on. Sometimes I believe that we are moving toward a society that does not wish to interact with people. I heard the other day, that "young people" do not know how to interact with adults except through social networks, where they do NOT have to meet, talk with or otherwise interact with anyone! "They cannot relate. They don't do well with people. If you wish to interact with them, then you had better learn the various social networks."

Is this the world we really want for our children? As a child, I was taught that one-on-one communication was the number one way to market yourself.

Do we wonder why children are being suspended/expelled from elementary school? We are not teaching them basic survival skills in a family, community, city, state, country or the world. We must be able to turn this around.

People to People Communications is still a very important skill, and we should foster it in our children, homes, schools, workplaces, and in our communities.

Let's take our children out from behind the computers, game boys, nintendos, etc., and teach them the art of communications. When EVERYTHING is so impersonal, how do we expect them to develop the proper emotions about different situations. Computers/game machines, etc. crash and you replace them. People crash and are NOT replaceable.

If we do not rectify the direction that our youth are headed, we will NOT be able to build enough jails; hire enough police; or provide any sense of safety and security in the not so distant future.

Let's start a serious dialogue about the need to preserve our "humaness." Your comments are invited.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

APRIL 1, 2010 IS HERE!


According to the Census Bureau, MOUNT RAINIANS have only turned in 47% of the census form mailed out to them!

• Everyone in the United States must be counted. This includes people of all ages, races, ethnic groups; citizens and noncitizens.

• Census forms will be delivered or mailed to households in March 2010.

• Households should complete and mail back their forms upon receipt. Remember, we can’t move forward until you mail it back.

• Census Day is April 1, 2010. Responses to the census form should include everyone who will be living at your address on that date. (It is not necessary to wait until Census Day to return census forms, however. Forms should be returned as quickly as possible.) People should be counted at the residence where they live or sleep most of the time.

• The individual in whose name the housing unit is rented or owned should complete the form on behalf of every person living in the residence, both relatives and nonrelatives.

• Census workers will visit households that do not return forms to take the count in person.

MOUNT RAINIANS must be counted, IF WE ARE TO GET OUR FAIR SHARE OF THE more than $400 billion per year in federal funding to be distributed based on the 2010 CENSUS.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Just a quick update to let you know that by now census forms have been mailed or hand-delivered to nearly all households across the U.S., and we’re happy to report that the census is on time and on budget. Staying on budget will depend, of course, on mail participation and not having to send census takers out to households that didn’t mail back their forms.

If every household completed and mailed back their census form, taxpayers could reduce the cost of taking the census by $1.5 billion. We appreciate all of your efforts to ensure full participation from your community.

We are getting reports from a small number of communities that they are receiving census questionnaires that have a city in the address on the envelope that is different than whatthey usually see on their mail.

This does NOT mean that they will be counted in the city listed in the mailing address on the envelope. The census questionnaire contains a bar code that ensures that census respondents are counted at the physical location where they received their form, not the postal delivery address.
The 2010 Census mail-out is the largest single delivery ever undertaken by the United States – over 120 million forms. To streamline delivery in a mailing this large, packages of forms were sometimes lumped together under the same city name. This is not a problem; for every address there are multiple post office names that are perfectly acceptable for accurate delivery.
As long as the cities in question are served by the same post office, the forms are delivered correctly, and again, the actual physical location of the household is included in the bar code. Throughout the country the census forms are being delivered to the correct location, even those that do not have a city that people are used to seeing on their mail.

The 2010 Census Address List is the most accurate ever compiled. Throughout the decade census employees have been building the census address list. This process included the massive effort to bring census maps into GPS alignment, regularly updating address information, and working with every municipality in the country to update boundaries and check addresses. This process culminated with census employees walking every street in America to make sure each household is in the correct geographic location long before the forms were addressed and mailed.
It’s all part of the Census Bureau’s mission to “Count Everyone Once – and Only Once – And In the Right Place.”

** The Census Bureau will begin posting daily mail participation rates on our Web site next week. Visit the site now to see how your community did in Census 2000, and come back next week to get a daily rate tracker for your community you can embed on your own Web pages. **


Saturday, February 20, 2010

An OPEN LETTER to the Residents of Mount Rainier Maryland

An OPEN LETTER to the Residents of Mount Rainier Maryland

Are you up for the "Take 10" challenge?

On behalf of the U.S. Census Bureau, and the residents of Mount Rainier, I am challenging each of you to join me in making history by helping me to get every man, woman and child counted in MOUNT RAINIER by completing and mailing back the 2010 Census questionnaire during the 2010 Census.

During each Decennial Census, the Census Bureau undertakes the count of every person residing in the United States, as mandated by Article 1, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution. To encourage everyone to take 10 minutes to answer the 10 simple questions on the 2010 Census form, the Census Bureau has launched the "Take 10" campaign. Through "Take 10," you can visit to get updates on the proportion of households that have mailed back the 2010 Census forms. You also will be able to view differences between your community's participation rates and those of neighboring communities or other areas across the country.

The "Take 10" Challenge - Tools to Inspire the Mail Back Participation Rates for the 2010 Census

During the 2000 Census, 72 percent of occupied households mailed back their forms. In 2010, the Census Bureau is challenging communities to do even better. As the Mayor of Mount Rainier, I am challenging you to help me make sure that every resident in Mount Rainier is counted. The Census Bureau's "Take 10" campaign offers a wide range of tools for our community to meet this challenge. These include:

• An interactive, map-based, "Take 10" Web site that allows local areas to track and compare their 2010 Census mail back participation rates, which will be updated on a daily basis at, and to look up their 2000 Census participation rates.
• An electronic toolkit is available which includes talking points, sample speeches, new releases, newsletter copy, event suggestions, flyers, stickers, and doorknob hanger templates, and more.
• Suggestions on how to use friendly competition with other communities to inspire your community to participate in the census.

As a resident of Mount Rainier, you play an important role in making sure we can the dollars we need to continue revitalizing our community. You can also make sure that your neighbors complete mail back their forms. The 2010 Census questionnaires will be delivered from March 15-17, 2010. From the time the forms are delivered until the closing of the mail campaign at the end of April, you have the opportunity to complete and mail this importance document back to the Census Bureau. I believe that you can do this and the you can and will encourage your neighbors to also complete and return their census form.

The stakes are high; an accurate count of our population helps to ensure that our municipality receives its fair share of federal funding that will be allocated based on our population. This funding includes resources for services, such as health care, education, and roads.

You must complete and mail back your census forms between March 15, 2010 and April 15, 2010. The good news is that the 2010 Census questionnaire is one of the shortest in history-just 10 questions that only take about 10 minutes to complete. I hope the CITY OF MOUNT RAINIER can count on you to complete and return your census questionnaire, and to encourage your neighbors to participate in the 2010 Census.

Visit now to see your area's 2000 Census mail participation rate and check the site daily for updates.

The 2010 Census: It's in our Hands.


Malinda Miles
Mount Rainier, Maryland